Wordox is a new Facebook-based word game from French developer IsCool Entertainment. The game superficially resembles Scrabble and its numerous clones such as Words With Friends, but is set up to provide a much faster-paced, non-asynchronous multiplayer experience and distinguish itself as a fun, original experience in its own right.
Wordox can be played as either a two- or four-player game. Players take turns to lay down letters from a communal tile rack on a board which resembles a much smaller version of the Scrabble playfield. One point is earned for each letter placed — more difficult letters are not more valuable than common ones. By laying down a word which crosses over an opponent’s previous move, it’s possible to “steal” letters — and thus points — from the other players. Laying down words over special squares rewards the players with collectible stars which can be redeemed for additional points by playing a word on the corner “vortex” spaces. This also has the side-effect of trashing all opponents’ stars and clearing the game board to start again. The first player to reach 25 points is declared the winner.
The amount a player is able to play Wordox is determined by the game’s soft currency Wox. It costs 100 Wox to “buy in” to a game, though the winning player will get this back. Wox is awarded daily, with more on offer if players Like the game on Facebook, but may also be purchased; earned through offer walls from TrialPay, DealSpot and SupersonicAds; earned by participating in regular competitions on the official community page; and won on virtual scratchcards.
Wordox features a robust suite of multiplayer features to allow quick and easy matching with online opponents, and the ability to play private games with friends. A “Play Now” button on the main menu gets players straight into a two- or four-player game against random opponents, with AI participants filling in the empty chairs if no others are available. Meanwhile, players can create their own “rooms” in order to play with friends — these can also be password protected to ensure only the desired opponent is able to jump in. Once in a game, players have the opportunity to chat in real time to their opponent, and a detailed turn history allows for review of how the game has gone. Each player also has a profile which keeps track of their win-loss statistics, and an in-game buddy list allows for the sending of Wox gifts to friends who are playing.
There is, however, no apparent facility to play games in an asynchronous manner, which seems like something of an oversight. Wordox matches are generally over quite quickly and are designed to be fast-paced — each player’s turn is time-limited, for example — but some may have preferred the option to play at a more sedate pace at times that are convenient to them. This is something which should perhaps be considered for an update, particularly if IsCool decides to release a mobile version in the future.
This aside, Wordox is a great game, though its potential for monetization is slightly questionable. Players are provided with a generous bank of Wox as a welcome gift and are able to earn more through logging in and Liking the official community page; only the most dedicated players will find themselves in a situation where they will need to spend real money on games. That said, this sort of “generosity” often builds goodwill among the player base and may attract a much wider audience than something that is more explicitly “pay to play.”
Wordox is a great example of a creative take on a genre riddled with tired, unimaginative Scrabble clones. Its fast-paced gameplay and highly competitive nature make it ideal for those who don’t have the time to spend on a lengthy Words With Friends match — it could just do with an asynchronous mode to improve itself further.
Wordox currently has 70,000 daily active users and 570,000 monthly active users. Follow its progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.
An inventive, original take on multiplayer word games whose fast-paced, competitive gameplay will keep players coming back for more.